How to Build Effective Structures in Your SME Business.
When we are setting up a small SME business, we are often on our own and don’t have the luxury of delegating tasks or building functional or operational structures that support the business. For many of us, it is a case of surviving on our wits one day at a time, and focusing on the income generating activities that keep the business alive.
But you can only do this for a while before you burn out, or the business collapses due to lack of resources. So why would anyone want to take on the risk of starting their own business? Some of us go into business because we have a great idea; others do it because they don’t want to work for someone else or in the corporate world; and there are some of us that do it simply because we have few if any other options.
Whatever the reason, if we want our business to grow to be anything other than a lifestyle business that simply pays the bills and a little bit more, then we have to start building structures and practices that support a bigger operation. This starts by looking at your internal environment and realizing where you are spending most of your time.
The Mind Map below is one possible configuration of the core functions within a business and some of the activities or practices that could be happening in each function. This simple activity map shows 40 different tasks and it is just a high level view. Looking at it in a more granular level will show hundreds of different activities. So where are you spending most of your time? Where are you spending little or no time? And which functions do not have any resources allocated to them at all?
If you are a sole trader, you will probably wonder how any one person can keep their finger on the pulse of everything in the Mind Map. The answer is obviously that you can’t. The purpose of showing it here is to display some of the considerations and activities that will need to be incorporated into your business as you grow it, and add people to the team to help you. Effective management starts with knowing what you know, discovering what you don’t know, filling in the gaps in your knowledge, and then plugging the gaps in your business with the new knowledge.